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Sanctuary for Jila, Emad & Aref

This is an alert from the Sanctuary for Jila, Emad & Aref campaign  


Jila  Kalkhoran her sons Emad and Aref Pirouzeh are nationals of Iran and residents of Middlesbrough; they are currently detained in Yarl’s Wood IRC and due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Friday 21st November on BMI Flight BD931 from London Heathrow @ 17:15 to Tehran Imam Khomeini International, Iran.

Jila, Emad & Pizrouzeh were ‘snatched’ from their Middlesbrough home Wednesday morning.

Jila and her family became targets of violence and intimidation in Iran following her husband’s involvement in political activity proscribed by the Iranian government.  Jila’s husband Ali Pirouzeh was a journalist for a publication, which was critical of the Iranian regime’s record on women’s rights, poverty and religious rights.

Jila & the children came to the UK in October 2007 for a visit, fully intending to return to Iran. News from her partner in early 2008 said that the situation was getting worse and he advised her not to return to Iran. Jila made an asylum claim in March 2008. Jila’s husband was forced to flee Iran in June 2008 following a number of violent incidents against him and others. He fully intended to try and get to the UK to join is wife and children but only got as far as Holland, where he made an asylum claim which is still under consideration.

After claiming Asylum in the UK, Jila and her children came to live in Middlesbrough, where they have settled down to become much loved members of the community and a local evangelical Jubilee Church Teesside.  Jila’s Christian faith is her second well-founded fear of persecution. Jila and the boys have become Christians in the UK and regularly attend, and are actively involved in, the life of Jubilee Church Teesside.

In 2007 Amnesty International announced that it was concerned by the “rising tide of harassment of journalists and women’s rights activists in Iran by security officials.”  Such harassment included travel restrictions both inside and outside Iran, and arbitrary and indefinite detention in Iran’s prisons.  Journalists critical of the government have been accused by the Iranian authorities of “disturbing public opinion”, “propaganda against the system” and “publication of lies.”  Reporters Without Borders comments that “many journalists were also held in secret, without even basic rights” and media outlets sometimes face physical attack by government organisations and Koranic schools.

On 8.10.08 The Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, Rt Hon David Miliband, MP, condemned a draft bill currently making its way through the Iranian Parliament, which would codify the death penalty for apostasy. David Miliband commented that he “deplored the way in which the Iranian Parliament is· now discussing a draft penal code that would set out a mandatory death sentence for the crime, quote unquote, of apostasy.” He went on to say that “If adopted, [the legislation] would violate the right to freedom of religion, which is also an important basis of any civilised society.”

The draft bill being debated in Iran was initially approved at a first stage vote by the Iranian parliament on Tuesday 9 September, with 196 votes for, seven against, and two abstentions. The bill, named the Islamic Penal Code, is currently due to be sent back to the Legislative Commission for amendments before being brought before the Iranian parliament for a final vote.

All legal avenues have been exhausted. They are a charming family whose politeness and warmth has touched everyone whom they met.  Emad and Aref have taken part in a range of community youth activities, to which they contributed talent, enthusiasm and maturity beyond their years.  It would be tragic and an injustice if this family were to be forcibly removed to The Islamic Republic of Iran, a country from which they fled in fear of their lives.

Jila, Emad and Aref were detained for removal earlier this year due to a mistake in the asylum process, which was only; rectified at the last moment and they were released.  Now the family have been detained a second time for removal again on 21st November 2008, despite the fact that fresh evidence received from Iran concerning her husband’s case is currently being translated.

Local Middlesbrough residents are campaigning to keep the family in the UK.

What you can do to Help:

1) Please send urgent faxes to Nigel Turner, Chief Executive Officer BMI Airways, asking that BMI should not facilitate Home Office enforcement policies, using the attached ‘model letter’ (JilaEmadArefBMI.doc) you can copy/amend/write your own version, if you do so, please remember to include the following details:  Jila, Emad & Aref due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Friday 21st November on BMI Flight BD931 from London Heathrow @ 17:15 to Tehran Imam Khomeini International, Iran.

Fax: Fax:: 01332 854989  from outside the UK: + 44 1332 854989

Leave a complaint/concern

BMI Customer Relations: At BMI we are committed to our customers and value your feedback. You can leave a complaint/concern @

2) Ring BMI Head Office and ask to speak to the CEO, Nigel Turner (Tel: 01332 854000).  You probably won’t be able to speak to him personally, but you should be able to leave a message, at least to say that you have sent a fax.

3)  Please send urgent faxes/emails immediately to Rt. Hon.Jacqui Smith, Secretary for State, asking that Jila, Emad & Aref, be granted protection in the UK. Please use the attached ‘model letter’ (JilaEmadAref SJ.doc) which you can copy/amend/write your own version, if you do so, please remember to include their HO ref: K1279501.

Fax: 020 8760 3132(00 44 20 8760 3132 if you are faxing from outside UK)


Please let the campaign know of faxes/emails sent:

‘Sanctuary for Jila, Emad & Aref’

24 Oxford Road



Tel. 079 1442 2994 / or 079 3238 4248